The Toronto Maple Leafs made some drastic changes to their roster during the offseason, with several key figures departing the organization and several new faces taking the places of the old ones.
The biggest changes of course came off the heels of a pair of trades, one that sent long time Toronto Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for fellow forward Alex Kerfoot and defenseman Tyson Barrie, and another that saw the most experienced member of the team depart in the form of veteran forward Patrick Marleau after a trade to Carolina. This obviously will result in a change in atmosphere in the Maple Leafs locker room, especially when you consider that Marleau and Kadri were unquestionably two of the most established voices in that locker room, and as a result there has been plenty of speculation about how this could impact Toronto's locker room chemistry heading into next season.
Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen, an established veteran in his own right at this stage of his career, was quick to brush off those concerns however, expressing a belief that everything would be fine come the start of the 2019 - 2020 NHL regular season.
"I don't see that becoming the biggest concern at all," said Andersen this week while attending Smashfest, a charity pingpong tournament in support of concussion and cancer research hosted by former NHL player Dominic Moore. "There's a lot of new faces already, and we're trying to acclimate ourselves with the new guys.
"Obviously, saying goodbye to guys I got to know a lot the last few years is tough, but that is part of how the business works. As a team, we're trying to go in the right direction, keep building, and keep trying to find ways to improve."
It's not just tough talk from Andersen either. The Maple Leafs goaltender is not just saying that things will work out fine in the locker room this season, but according to some of his new teammates the Maple Leafs goaltender is going above and beyond to make them feel welcome in their new city.
"He's been great," Kerfoot said. "When I pulled up to the hotel, I met him right away. He drove me to the practice rink the first day I went out there, which was a great gesture out of him. He's told me how great it was to play here, how the fans here are unlike any place in the League, and how it's an exciting group to be a part of."
There has been a lot of talk in the last few years about which player should captain the Maple Leafs, and although goaltenders never fill that role in the NHL, it certainly sounds like Andersen has all the leadership qualities you would expect out of a man wearing the "C."